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15 Signs Of Negative People

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15 Signs Of Negative People

Lack of confidence, gloom and doom, distrust, and anxiety are a toxic cocktail mix. You probably wonder how one person can survive with all that inside them! Yet, these negative people exist all around us and are impossible to avoid.

This is not to say that you will never have moments of despair, anxiety and discouragement. But as a positive person, you never let these thoughts take over your life. You live the four-to-one ratio: You generate four positive thoughts for every negative one, to keep situations from getting out of hand.

Below, you’ll find 15 signs of negative people, and see what makes them tick. You’ll discover why many people are unaware of their negativity and how it is ruining their lives – and everyone else’s. These warning signs will also teach you to be on the alert so that you can avoid falling into the black hole of negativity.

The 15 signs of negative people:

1. They always worry

Negative people survive on worry – a very unhealthy diet. This mindset is geared towards the need to feel protected and aware to an extreme degree. Practising mindfulness and staying in the present are great ways to squash worry.

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 “Whatever is going to happen will happen, whether we worry or not.” – Anna Monnar

2. They try to tell you what to do

When people start to tell you what you should do with your life, what house to buy or whether you should change your job, you can be sure they are in the negative squad. They do not realize it but this is a sure sign that they have not sorted out their own life issues. It is much easier to tell everyone else how to live their lives!

3. They live in the default position

There is a neurological explanation as to why some people end up being so negative. It has to do with the part of the brain called the amygdala, which functions as an alarm and is constantly on the look out for danger, fear and bad news. Scientists believe this to be the brain’s default position. In evolutionary terms, this is understandable; it is all part of the fear-flight mechanism in which the brain uses most of its neurons to keep up with all the bad news that is stored in the memory.

Positive people develop an ability to evaluate and face up to problems which can counteract this mechanism.

4. They enjoy secrecy

If you meet a negative person at a party, you may find the conversation rather tedious. Fearful of revealing too much information about themselves, they live in fear that doing so would be used against them in some way. They rarely think that what they share could be used in a positive light.

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If you find yourself becoming defensive and closed during conversation, think about possible reasons why.

5. They are pessimists

My mother was the world’s greatest pessimist. Spotting menacing clouds on the way to the beach, she would invariably say that the best of the day had gone. (I cannot remember any downpours when we had to return home.)

Negative people rarely envisage a happy outcome or great result. They always imagine that everything will go wrong.

6. They cannot limit their exposure to bad news

Negative people love coming into your cubicle and saying things like, “Have you heard the terrible news about….”, after which they fill you in on all the gory details. The tragedy is that overexposure to negative news affects a person more deeply than was previously thought. Research has shown that media exposure to violence, death and tragedy contributes to depression and anxiety, as well as to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). It colors a negative person’s outlook on life.

That is why you should limit the amount of news you watch on television and on your PC. Difficult? Perhaps. But essential if you are to remain positive.

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7. They have very thin skin

Those who are negative are likely to be over sensitive to criticism, even taking compliments the wrong way. They interpret innocent remarks as being condescending or rude. For example, a negative person may find jokes about short people offensive because they are not very tall themselves.

8. They complain a lot

Negative people tend to whine a lot, convinced that the whole world is against them. They are usually the victim of lousy weather, a difficult boss, bad luck, and their upbringing. They rarely step back to look at other factors – such as a lack of energy, creativity or simply hard work.

9. They never move outside their comfort zone

Moving outside the familiar world is anathema to those who are negative. They cannot face the possibility of more fear, discomfort, challenges or failure. They are thus never able to try out new experiences and are doomed to dwell in their dull and dreary comfort zone.

10. They love the word ‘but’

A negative person might say something positive or even compliment you on your great cooking. They might be happy to find themselves on the beach or in a restaurant. The only problem: They finish their remarks with the ‘but’ word, turning this positive into a negative. You get remarks like “It looks like a great restaurant but I wonder why you didn’t book a table outside” or “It’s a lovely beach but there are always too many people around.”

11. They are underachievers

Lack of success could be due to many factors, but negativity is a main cause. Negative people usually think they are not smart enough, athletic enough, or good enough. But the real threat to their success is that their emotional intelligence is crippled by their often critical and confrontational manner. Additionally, they will regale you with stories of how difficult people were, how they would never collaborate and how  impossible it was to get anywhere with them.

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If they had been just a bit more positive, you think, they might have got somewhere!

12. They never get excited about future projects

Have you noticed that those who are negative can never talk about future plans or projects in a positive way? Actually, they rarely talk about plans at all because they are too wrapped up in their present misery. As a positive person, you have dreams. You have projects and visions of what your future will be like. You are on an open highway while they are stuck in a dark tunnel.

13. They become energy vampires

In addition to being demanding, negative people suck out all your energy, just like a vampire. They are simply incapable of producing any positive energy and will absorb your attention, time, and energy as they proceed to drag you down the negativity spiral.

14. They miss out on the good things of life

A negative person will hardly recognize joy, passion, contentment and excitement. These are not emotions or sensations that they regularly experience.

Of course, this is hardly surprising when considering these persons are fixated on their unsatisfying jobs, relationships and social status.

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15. They put a negative spin on good news

You are excited to share great news about your dream job, engagement or a new house. But when you want to tell a negative person, you hesitate. Why? You know that they will always find a way to make it sound negative. They will caution you to be careful, warn you of the dangers and tell you to think carefully before accepting.

The best way to deal with all this negativity is to thank your lucky stars that you are positive and that you have overcome most of the negativity in your life. The more negative a person is, the happier you can be that you are not like them – and you will be extra careful about getting caught in their web.

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Robert Locke

Author of Ziger the Tiger Stories, a health enthusiast specializing in relationships, life improvement and mental health.

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Last Updated on July 20, 2021

How to Overcome the Fear of Public Speaking (A Step-by-Step Guide)

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How to Overcome the Fear of Public Speaking (A Step-by-Step Guide)

You’re standing behind the curtain, just about to make your way on stage to face the many faces half-shrouded in darkness in front of you. As you move towards the spotlight, your body starts to feel heavier with each step. A familiar thump echoes throughout your body – your heartbeat has gone off the charts.

Don’t worry, you’re not the only one with glossophobia(also known as speech anxiety or the fear of speaking to large crowds). Sometimes, the anxiety happens long before you even stand on stage.

Your body’s defence mechanism responds by causing a part of your brain to release adrenaline into your blood – the same chemical that gets released as if you were being chased by a lion.

Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you overcome your fear of public speaking:

1. Prepare yourself mentally and physically

According to experts, we’re built to display anxiety and to recognize it in others. If your body and mind are anxious, your audience will notice. Hence, it’s important to prepare yourself before the big show so that you arrive on stage confident, collected and ready.

“Your outside world is a reflection of your inside world. What goes on in the inside, shows on the outside.” – Bob Proctor

Exercising lightly before a presentation helps get your blood circulating and sends oxygen to the brain. Mental exercises, on the other hand, can help calm the mind and nerves. Here are some useful ways to calm your racing heart when you start to feel the butterflies in your stomach:

Warming up

If you’re nervous, chances are your body will feel the same way. Your body gets tense, your muscles feel tight or you’re breaking in cold sweat. The audience will notice you are nervous.

If you observe that this is exactly what is happening to you minutes before a speech, do a couple of stretches to loosen and relax your body. It’s better to warm up before every speech as it helps to increase the functional potential of the body as a whole. Not only that, it increases muscle efficiency, improves reaction time and your movements.

Here are some exercises to loosen up your body before show time:

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  1. Neck and shoulder rolls – This helps relieve upper body muscle tension and pressure as the rolls focus on rotating the head and shoulders, loosening the muscle. Stress and anxiety can make us rigid within this area which can make you feel agitated, especially when standing.
  2. Arm stretches – We often use this part of our muscles during a speech or presentation through our hand gestures and movements. Stretching these muscles can reduce arm fatigue, loosen you up and improve your body language range.
  3. Waist twists – Place your hands on your hips and rotate your waist in a circular motion. This exercise focuses on loosening the abdominal and lower back regions which is essential as it can cause discomfort and pain, further amplifying any anxieties you may experience.

Stay hydrated

Ever felt parched seconds before speaking? And then coming up on stage sounding raspy and scratchy in front of the audience? This happens because the adrenaline from stage fright causes your mouth to feel dried out.

To prevent all that, it’s essential we stay adequately hydrated before a speech. A sip of water will do the trick. However, do drink in moderation so that you won’t need to go to the bathroom constantly.

Try to avoid sugary beverages and caffeine, since it’s a diuretic – meaning you’ll feel thirstier. It will also amplify your anxiety which prevents you from speaking smoothly.

Meditate

Meditation is well-known as a powerful tool to calm the mind. ABC’s Dan Harris, co-anchor of Nightline and Good Morning America weekend and author of the book titled10% Happier , recommends that meditation can help individuals to feel significantly calmer, faster.

Meditation is like a workout for your mind. It gives you the strength and focus to filter out the negativity and distractions with words of encouragement, confidence and strength.

Mindfulness meditation, in particular, is a popular method to calm yourself before going up on the big stage. The practice involves sitting comfortably, focusing on your breathing and then bringing your mind’s attention to the present without drifting into concerns about the past or future – which likely includes floundering on stage.

Here’s a nice example of guided meditation before public speaking:

2. Focus on your goal

One thing people with a fear of public speaking have in common is focusing too much on themselves and the possibility of failure.

Do I look funny? What if I can’t remember what to say? Do I look stupid? Will people listen to me? Does anyone care about what I’m talking about?’

Instead of thinking this way, shift your attention to your one true purpose – contributing something of value to your audience.

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Decide on the progress you’d like your audience to make after your presentation. Notice their movements and expressions to adapt your speech to ensure that they are having a good time to leave the room as better people.

If your own focus isn’t beneficial and what it should be when you’re speaking, then shift it to what does. This is also key to establishing trust during your presentation as the audience can clearly see that you have their interests at heart.[1]

3. Convert negativity to positivity

There are two sides constantly battling inside of us – one is filled with strength and courage while the other is doubt and insecurities. Which one will you feed?

‘What if I mess up this speech? What if I’m not funny enough? What if I forget what to say?’

It’s no wonder why many of us are uncomfortable giving a presentation. All we do is bring ourselves down before we got a chance to prove ourselves. This is also known as a self-fulfilling prophecy – a belief that comes true because we are acting as if it already is. If you think you’re incompetent, then it will eventually become true.

Motivational coaches tout that positive mantras and affirmations tend to boost your confidents for the moments that matter most. Say to yourself: “I’ll ace this speech and I can do it!”

Take advantage of your adrenaline rush to encourage positive outcome rather than thinking of the negative ‘what ifs’.

Here’s a video of Psychologist Kelly McGonigal who encourages her audience to turn stress into something positive as well as provide methods on how to cope with it:

4. Understand your content

Knowing your content at your fingertips helps reduce your anxiety because there is one less thing to worry about. One way to get there is to practice numerous times before your actual speech.

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However, memorizing your script word-for-word is not encouraged. You can end up freezing should you forget something. You’ll also risk sounding unnatural and less approachable.

“No amount of reading or memorizing will make you successful in life. It is the understanding and the application of wise thought that counts.” – Bob Proctor

Many people unconsciously make the mistake of reading from their slides or memorizing their script word-for-word without understanding their content – a definite way to stress themselves out.

Understanding your speech flow and content makes it easier for you to convert ideas and concepts into your own words which you can then clearly explain to others in a conversational manner. Designing your slides to include text prompts is also an easy hack to ensure you get to quickly recall your flow when your mind goes blank.[2]

One way to understand is to memorize the over-arching concepts or ideas in your pitch. It helps you speak more naturally and let your personality shine through. It’s almost like taking your audience on a journey with a few key milestones.

5. Practice makes perfect

Like most people, many of us are not naturally attuned to public speaking. Rarely do individuals walk up to a large audience and present flawlessly without any research and preparation.

In fact, some of the top presenters make it look easy during showtime because they have spent countless hours behind-the-scenes in deep practice. Even great speakers like the late John F. Kennedy would spend months preparing his speech beforehand.

Public speaking, like any other skill, requires practice – whether it be practicing your speech countless of times in front of a mirror or making notes. As the saying goes, practice makes perfect!

6. Be authentic

There’s nothing wrong with feeling stressed before going up to speak in front of an audience.

Many people fear public speaking because they fear others will judge them for showing their true, vulnerable self. However, vulnerability can sometimes help you come across as more authentic and relatable as a speaker.

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Drop the pretence of trying to act or speak like someone else and you’ll find that it’s worth the risk. You become more genuine, flexible and spontaneous, which makes it easier to handle unpredictable situations – whether it’s getting tough questions from the crowd or experiencing an unexpected technical difficulty.

To find out your authentic style of speaking is easy. Just pick a topic or issue you are passionate about and discuss this like you normally would with a close family or friend. It is like having a conversation with someone in a personal one-to-one setting. A great way to do this on stage is to select a random audience member(with a hopefully calming face) and speak to a single person at a time during your speech. You’ll find that it’s easier trying to connect to one person at a time than a whole room.

With that said, being comfortable enough to be yourself in front of others may take a little time and some experience, depending how comfortable you are with being yourself in front of others. But once you embrace it, stage fright will not be as intimidating as you initially thought.

Presenters like Barack Obama are a prime example of a genuine and passionate speaker:

7. Post speech evaluation

Last but not the least, if you’ve done public speaking and have been scarred from a bad experience, try seeing it as a lesson learned to improve yourself as a speaker.

Don’t beat yourself up after a presentation

We are the hardest on ourselves and it’s good to be. But when you finish delivering your speech or presentation, give yourself some recognition and a pat on the back.

You managed to finish whatever you had to do and did not give up. You did not let your fears and insecurities get to you. Take a little more pride in your work and believe in yourself.

Improve your next speech

As mentioned before, practice does make perfect. If you want to improve your public speaking skills, try asking someone to film you during a speech or presentation. Afterwards, watch and observe what you can do to improve yourself next time.

Here are some questions you can ask yourself after every speech:

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  • How did I do?
  • Are there any areas for improvement?
  • Did I sound or look stressed?
  • Did I stumble on my words? Why?
  • Was I saying “um” too often?
  • How was the flow of the speech?

Write everything you observed down and keep practicing and improving. In time, you’ll be able to better manage your fears of public speaking and appear more confident when it counts.

If you want even more tips about public speaking or delivering a great presentation, check out these articles too:

Reference

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